John Palka blogs about my presentation at e-Learning Guild 2007 Annual Gathering in Boston and very glad to know that I have made a little difference and he is going to develop a web-based role play.
The steps he is taking are very actionable. Here is a suggestion (specifically related to his step 2) which may help.
I will provide some information about each character, but I’ll leave enough gaps for the youth group to fill in and take ownership of the character.
The level of information to provide is one of the most tricky part of designing an engaging and effective role play (the other are the scenario and kick-start episode). We must provide sufficient information to give players to concretely identify the role (stereotypical may be) and yet leave out sufficient details to encourage embellishment. It is better to err on the side of providing too many instead of too few. When sufficient information are available, you can let the players pick and choose among all the details (and to add/modify if necessary). In this way,the "ownership of the role" feeling is not lost by players and you would have provided a strong foundation for the role play to progress.
Hope to see his final work soon.